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Thread: The Buddhist Idea of a Perfect Society

  1. #1

    The Buddhist Idea of a Perfect Society

    I think that this is a transcript of a talk given by Ajahn Sumedho back in the 1980's - and I wondered if it would be of interest to anyone :



    The Buddhist Idea of a Perfect Society


    by Ajahn Sumedho


    We can imagine a perfect society and have a model of it to use as a guideline, as something to aim for. But we shouldn't expect society ever to be perfect and to be continuously the way we would like it to be, because part of the perfection lies in the fact that everything changes; nothing can remain the same. Just as a rose reaches its perfect fullness, perfect form, perfect fragrance and then changes; so societies reach peaks and then they degenerate. This is the natural movement of all conditioned phenomena. Any sensory condition follows that pattern.

    To contemplate the arising and ceasing of conditions allows us to understand them; we are not just caught in the arising and ceasing of the world - or of the human body - like a helpless creature that has no way of knowing anything beyond it. We actually have the power and ability to transcend the world, society, the body, the self. All that is most dear and precious, all that we are most frightened of, all that we can possibly conceive of or believe in, we can transcend.

    What do I mean by transcendence? To "transcend the world" sounds like you are somehow getting out of the whole thing by going somewhere else. To many people it would mean that you had left the world behind; that you were no longer interested in or concerned about it in any way; that you lived on a totally different plane.

    First of all we need to contemplate what we mean by the world. Of course with our materialist mind conditioned through education and geography courses, we tend to see the world as a kind of map or globe. We think the world is the planet earth, and to transcend the planet earth we have to get off it somehow, and maybe go up to the moon. But when Buddhists talk about the world, we talk about the mind because that's what we live in. Even the concept of the planet is a concept of the mind.

    Opinions we have about the world, about ourselves, about other beings, about other planets, are in fact the conditions that arise and cease in the mind.

    Continues at the link:

    http://www.purifymind.com/PerfectSociety.htm


  2. #2
    Forums Member Genecanuck's Avatar
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    Hello Aloka,

    Thank you for sharing this. I read it and it gave me so much to think about. Just what I needed right now to contemplate.

    Warm regards

    Gene

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    Forums Member Olderon's Avatar
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    Hi, Aloka.

    An interesting thought: "A society of Arahants knowing the world for what it actually is, free of delusions regarding all of existence. Not sure if I would know what to do with myself. What would be the point of doing anything if nothing needed improvement or repair?

    Sounds kind of boring, actually. Although, I probably would never have a reason to miss my naps.

  4. #4
    Forums Member Thinker's Avatar
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    Hi Olderon, Hi Aloka

    Generally speaking, we remain the Human Ape, we sleep, awake, forage for food (Bananas are cool) we enjoy others company or not, we crave attention at different stages of life and we want, want, want, the majority of our waking life!

    To learn of another way or method of practice, that highlights the importance of our inner world (mind) and teaches that the continued inner wanting or craving is in fact the very cause of much if not all of our mental discomfort, is indeed an enlightenment worth investigating further.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Thinker View Post

    To learn of another way or method of practice, that highlights the importance of our inner world (mind) and teaches that the continued inner wanting or craving is in fact the very cause of much if not all of our mental discomfort, is indeed an enlightenment worth investigating further.
    Absolutely !

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